Much delayed service might begin after the start of the school term
CGI of the ferry service boats and terminals. Picture: TfL and Beckett Rankine
The long-awaited ferry service between Barnes and Hammersmith is now due to be up and running by late September – after the school term has started.
The idea of a ferry service, to aid school children and commuters caught out by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, was given the green light in October 2020.
After funding was agreed with the Department for Transport, it was hoped that the service would be ready by the spring, as schools reopened from lockdown.
Transport for London’s website now states, “We’re planning to begin the service by the end of summer (22 September) 2021.”
But there are now artist’s impressions of terminals that have been designed by engineering consultants Beckett Rankine. The images show where the north and south ferry terminals will be located, to the east of Hammersmith Bridge.
TfL’s website states that the Hammersmith terminal will be located at the bottom of Queen Caroline Street.
A spokesperson for the organisation confirmed that a planning application has been submitted to Hammersmith and Fulham Council, though it has yet to be uploaded to the council’s online Planning Portal.
A planning application for the south terminal is being considered by Richmond Council.
TfL has explained that although the original plans show that the south terminal would be built at Harrods Wharf, it will instead be built just to the east of Castelnau.
It has also been explained that the construction will commence before the planning applications have been decided.
It has so far been confirmed that Uber Boats, also known as Thames Clippers, will run the service. The company is already used by Westminster School.
It will operate from 6am to 10pm on weekdays, and from 8am on weekends, with capacity for up to 800 passengers (each way) per hour at peak times.
They will also be accessible for wheelchair users and passengers will be able to take bikes on board.
Adult fares are expected to mirror buses, at £1.55 for pay-as-you-go, TfL has said. The “hopper fare” option will be available between buses and the ferry. The same concessions for buses, including free travel for children and the Freedom Pass, will apply.
The Hammersmith Bridge SOS campaign group has reported from its discussion with TfL and Thames Clippers that the journeys will take 90 seconds, and the frequency of the boats will be five-seven minutes in either direction during peak hours and 10-12 minutes during off-peak hours.
At least two members of staff would be working at each terminal at all times.
Questions have also been asked about whether the ferry service will be needed, after the Government’s announcement that Hammersmith Bridge could reopen to pedestrians and cyclists this summer.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s engineers have indicated that this should only happen after strengthening works for the bridge have at least been scheduled with funding agreed.
TfL, the Government and the council have yet to agree which party should pay the biggest share, but the Department for Transport announced earlier this week that it is unwilling to fund more than 33 per cent of the overall cost.
Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter
June 8, 2021